I’d like to be funny today, to write a blog that will distract and entertain and impress all of you, my 92 dear followers – but I can’t think of a damn thing except stuff that’s all serious and meaningful so I can wrap up with a last line that rings for a while after you’ve read it and demonstrates both my precocious wisdom and my writing prowess.

Serious just doesn’t seem right today, like getting all into some intense story about how I went to Grand Rounds at UCSF last week, as one of the exhibits – sat there in the cramped exam room in my drape while about 30 doctors filed through in clumps of five or six to examine my legs, my knees, the backs of my hands, speaking in the muted respectful tones of museum curators, murmuring questions about the nature of my apparently rare skin condition. Never mind that outside it was one of those clean-swept sunny San Francisco mornings, the ones where the Bay looks like an electric blue marble and the very telephone poles gleam in all their wooden glory – see, I don’t really want to go into all that. Or like how this week at yet another medical appointment the athletic, blue-eyed third-year resident numbed up my neck and covered my face with a light cotton cloth before making an inch-long incision along one of the creases in my skin so she could open a hole there, dig out a lymph node, and drop it in a sterile container for the pathologist (“Would you like to see it? It looks like a piece of chicken fat”), chatting all the while as if we were drinking lattes at Starbucks, which was actually a pretty helpful technique for calming my nerves. Then she sewed everything back together. “Too bad it’s not Halloween — you could dress up as Frankenstein,” she said and both of us laughed and I got up and left and stuck my hands in my pocket so I couldn’t see them shaking.

Dammit, I don’t want to get all serious about how bewildering it is to be in this flesh and blood body, how exhausted I can get by the daily effort it takes to feel my fucking feelings in that body rather than putting them in some sort of thought bubble off to the left of my shoulder. I worry that right now you might be feeling sorry for me, or manipulated, or curious or concerned or whatever and the fact is, I don’t think this is really what I want to write about. What I think I really want to tell you about are the guys I saw in the parking lot under the BART tracks the other day, dressed in their approximation of medieval knights’ regalia, rushing each other with wooden swords and shields. Or how I can’t get Lonely Island‘s “Captain Jack Sparrow” out of my mind and I’m not really trying to, because I listen to it every available moment I’m alone in the car and what, exactly, does that reveal about me (“That was kinda weird but we’re back in the club, buyin’ up the bar so the groupies show us love”)? Or the cluster of Jehovah’s Witnesses I overheard debating whether to climb the stairs to the porch of a Craftsman-style house that had two signs clearly posted: “NO SOLICITING” and “SCRAM.” Or how I keep having dreams about packing a suitcase, and I can’t figure out what to take and what to leave behind. Or how, today when I was at Target, wandering the aisles looking for some stupid, obscure, Earth-crushing thing like Ziploc bags, a woman who was stocking the shelves with pickles noticed that my shoelaces were untied, stopped me and bent down to double-tie them, ignoring my nervous laughter and my attempts to escape. When she’d knotted them nice and tight she stood up and introduced herself — “I’m Rose, by the way” – and told me to have a good one.

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About Kate

Things are weird in the wide world -- and like everyone else, most days I'm used to it. But to shake things up for myself, I like to notice and write about stuff that strikes me as both beautiful and strange, fascinating and repulsive, sweet and sour -- like how the steamy, stinky air that comes up from the BART vents at 16th Street Mission reminds me of being twenty-two, apparently immortal, and in love.

5 responses »

  1. lauriesuewagner says:

    sweetheart, fantastic piece of writing – totally riveting and real! I don’t often have the time to read as many of these stories as I’d like to, but somehow this morning I got pulled into yours and it totally rocked. I had no idea you were dealing with a health issue – and so shit girl, I’m sending you love as well as kudos! Big blessing on you! xxxx

  2. Debbie Gilman says:

    Wow! This piece goes deep and wide. Many lingering images. Thank you.

  3. angstycrayon says:

    I’d rather have a skin disorder than be fat, unatttractive and stupid with 3 Mental Illnesses – Bi-polar, OCD and Aspergers LIKE ME. Consider yourself lucky :) Hope things turn out better for you :D

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